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Multiplexed micronutrient, inflammation, and malarial antigenemia assessment using a plasma fractionation device


by Eleanor Brindle, Lorraine Lillis, Rebecca Barney, Pooja Bansil, Francisco Arredondo, Neal E. Craft, Eileen Murphy, David S. Boyle

Processing and storing blood samples for future analysis of biomarkers can be challenging in resource limited environments. The preparation of dried blood spots (DBS) from finger-stick collection of whole blood is a widely used and established method as DBS are biosafe, and allow simpler field processing, storage, and transport protocols than serum or plasma. Therefore, DBS are commonly used in population surveys to assess infectious disease and/or micronutrient status. Recently, we reported that DBS can be used with the Q-plex(TM) Human Micronutrient 7-plex Array (MN 7-plex), a multiplexed immunoassay. This tool can simultaneously quantify seven protein biomarkers related to micronutrient deficiencies (iodine, iron and vitamin A), inflammation, and malarial antigenemia using plasma or serum. Serum ferritin, an iron biomarker, cannot be measured from DBS due to red blood cell (RBC) ferritin content confounding the results. In this study, we assess a simple blood fractionation tool that passively separates plasma from other blood components via diffusion through a membrane into a plasma collection disc (PCD). We evaluated the concordance of MN 7-plex analyte concentrations from matched panels of eighty-eight samples of PCD, DBS, and wet plasma prepared from anticoagulated venous whole blood. The results showed good correlations of >0.93 between the eluates from PCD and DBS for each analyte except ferritin; while correlations seen for plasma/PCD were weaker. However, the recovery rate of the analytes from the PCD were better than those from DBS. The serum ferritin measures from the PCD were highly correlated to wet plasma samples (0.85). This suggests that surveillance for iron status in low resource settings can be improved over the current methods restricted to only measuring sTfR in DBS. When used in combination with the MN 7-plex, all seven biomarkers can be simultaneously measured using eluates from the PCDs. 

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